Last Updated on May 31, 2022
Looking to plan a weekend trip to Davis West Virginia? Here is our fun-filled three-day itinerary that includes the best things to do in Davis WV!
West Virginia is known as the Mountain State and it’s no wonder because it’s the perfect destination to explore the forest, outdoors, and the Appalachian Mountains! We escaped the summer heat on a three-day weekend getaway to Davis, West Virginia, which is located along the northern edge of the Monongahela National Forest, in a region known as the Potomac Highlands. A scenic mountain town of about 600 residents, Davis, West Virginia is a popular destination in both summer and winter for visitors seeking to explore the nearby state parks.
Follow along on our trip to see how we spent the long weekend in Davis – and how you can, too!
Explore the Top Things to do in Davis, WV
Day One: Explore Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge and the town of Davis
We booked an adorable bed and breakfast, Bright Morning Inn, located on the main street of Davis. Since we could check-in at any time, our day was flexible. To start our trip, we drove from northern West Virginia and passed through Davis toward the Canaan Valley.
The Canaan Valley is a stunning plateau with a unique ecosystem of wetlands, forests, and fields. This nationally recognized valley is protected by the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Canaan Valley Resort State Park.
With so much to explore, we stopped at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge visitor center to chat with the ranger and volunteers, who recommended walking the Freeland Boardwalk Trail and Beall Trail. The visitor center included an informative exhibit about the natural history of the Canaan Valley.
It is a short drive between the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge visitor center and the Freeland Boardwalk Trail. The trail includes a small parking area. We had our lunch on the boardwalk benches before exploring.
The Freeland Boardwalk Trail meanders through the wetland. If you visit, be sure to pick up an interpretive brochure at the visitor center or download one from their website. We learned all about local wildlife, plants, and landscapes. It was especially fun to hear a chorus of green frogs singing even in the hot afternoon sun!
Next, we drove to the Beall Trail, where we enjoyed some hiking through forests and near other unique habitats.
We drove back to Davis to check into our bed and breakfast, Bright Morning Inn, which was a former lodge for lumberjacks. The town of Davis was established in the 1890s by railroad surveyor James Parsons on land belonging to West Virginia Senator Henry Gassaway Davis. Connected to civilization by the railroad, Davis was soon home to lumber mills, paper companies, coal mines, coke operations, leather makers, along with a variety of businesses, churches, and schools. At its height between the 1890s to 1920s, more than 2,300 people lived in Davis. While the town declined alongside local industries, Davis saw its first population growth in 2010, reborn by tourism and efforts to preserve the history and environment.
After a day of traveling and hiking, it was time for dinner! Bright Morning Inn is conveniently located across the street from Hellbender Burritos, where we had a delicious and filling meal!
We ended the day with soft-serve ice cream from the local shop. It gets busy there, and they only take cash, so be sure to arrive early and ready for dessert. Their servings are large, so every penny is worth it!
Blackwater Falls Tentrr Sites
In addition to traditional camping at Cooper’s Rock State Forest, you can glamp in one of the Tentrr sites! These sites include an already assembled canvas tent, a queen bed, furniture, a rustic bathroom, a firepit, and more! Tentrr sites allow you to enjoy the outdoors with luxury comfort.
Day Two: Blackwater Falls State Park
Morning: Blackwater Falls and Lindy Point
We started our day with a hearty breakfast from Bright Morning Inn, complimentary with our stay at the b&b. After fueling up, we drove out to Blackwater Falls State Park. There are dozens of trails that provide a variety of experiences, so plan ahead to find the right trails for you.
We first wanted to see the park’s namesake, Blackwater Falls, part of the Blackwater River. The walk down to the waterfall requires many steps, and the boardwalk by the falls may be a bit slippery from the mist. The trail, which also gives an up-close look at beautiful trees and understory plants, includes a few interpretive signs on the natural history of the area and its exploration.
Next, we drove out to Lindy Point. It was a short hike out to this stunning scenic vista. West Virginia’s state flower, the rhododendron, was also blooming along the trails and rocky outcroppings.
Afternoon: Elakala Falls and Pendleton Point
Blackwater Falls has plenty of places to stay, including cabins and camping areas, and we stopped by the Blackwater Falls Lodge to start our next hike. Blackwater Falls Lodge, which is nestled in the forest with a view of the gorge below, has a small gift shop and restaurant for drop-ins. Also near Blackwater Falls Lodge is the trailhead to Elakala Falls.
Elakala Falls, part of Shay Run, descends the gorge in a number of drops. The trail off Blackwater Falls Lodge includes a bridge that goes over the stream and provides a scenic view of one beautiful drop in Elakala Falls.
We took a break from hiking by driving to the north side of the gorge. We stopped at Pendleton Point overlook, which is easily accessible from a parking lot.
After a day of hiking, we spent some time on the water at Pendleton Lake. The nature center provides some wonderful programs, including guided hikes and a stargazing event. The lake offers swimming and boating opportunities, so we rented a canoe and enjoyed time on the water, where we saw ducks and aquatic plants up-close.
After relaxing, we had dinner at Sirianni’s Cafe where you can enjoy pizza and pasta in a unique historic setting. The space is filled with fun memorabilia.
We were lucky to visit Davis around the 4th of July. Once the sun set, we traveled to Davis’s neighboring town, Thomas, to take part in Mountaineer Days and watch a firework show. Like Davis, Thomas is a gem in the mountains. Great places to visit include the Purple Fiddle and Mountain State Brewing Company.
Day Three: Cathedral State Park
We enjoyed another filling breakfast at the Bright Morning Inn. Before heading out, we stopped at the Davis visitor’s center and Blackwater Bikes. On our way home, we stopped at Cathedral State Park. It’s clear where the park gets its name, as the forest is an awe-inspiring place.
At 133 acres, Cathedral State Park has the largest swath of old-growth hemlocks in West Virginia. Almost all of the old-growth forests in West Virginia were logged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Today, West Virginia’s rolling mountains are forested once again thanks to conservation efforts. The hemlocks at Cathedral State Park are thankfully preserved but carefully monitored for the hemlock wooly adelgid, an invasive insect that has killed countless trees.
Cathedral State Park includes a few miles of hiking trails, most of which are easy to moderate. There is reverence in walking these quiet trails among ancient trees.
Tips for traveling to Davis and the surrounding area:
Plan your destinations ahead of time. The Monongahela National Forest is huge and, if you’re traveling for a weekend, you won’t be able to see it all. Places like Dolly Sods, Spruce Knob, and Seneca Rocks are at the top of our list for our next visit!
Know how long it takes you to travel. The roads follow the mountainous landscape, which slows down driving and means you will probably have to go out of your way in places to get to your destinations.
Choose your adventures. The Davis area and all of Tucker County offer rock climbing, bicycling, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, camping, and more.